Nelson-Rigg CL-150 Motorcycle Tail Pack Review
[This Nelson-Rigg CL-150 Motorcycle Tail Pack Review was originally published in the October 2006 issue of Rider magazine]
We regularly need to carry stuff on our motorcycles and it often seems to be a problem. Consider the sterotypical image of that ubiquitous midsized bike with a plastic milk crate lashed to the luggage rack. Pragmatic? Certainly. Attractive, not so much.
My daily rider includes well-designed hard bags, but I prefer to enjoy the bike without them unless their size is necessary. So I’m a slave to my tankbag. But it tends to get jammed with camera gear and assorted electronic stuff. On long day trips when I don’t want the hard bags, where can I stash raingear, a water bottle, a sweater, whatever? Nelson-Rigg has a few tail-pack suggestions.
The CL-150 tail pack unit fits well on the pillion and stayed snug at speed. Size and volume are fine, if even a bit large; the accordion-pleated base of the expandable CL150 unzips, providing an additional 3 inches of height that allows the bag to easily swallow a full-face helmet. In addition to the universal four-point bungee mount system, the CL-150 provides a shoulder strap for off-the-bike toting, four proprietary nylon straps/buckles that can be used for quick attachment to Nelson-Rigg’s DSLB-500 saddlebags, and a zipper-adjustable rain fly.
Inside the bag, the zippered soft lid has a cell-phone pouch as well as pen/pencil loops, and a clever snap for keys. Also inside the top lid, a hook-and-loop closure holds larger flat items like folded maps. Interior stretchy mesh pockets provide gathering spots for the small important items that quickly seek the bottom of the usual bag. Outside, there is one large expandable zippered pocket per side. Each of these fleece-lined pockets is large enough for a camera, sunglasses or assorted snacks.
A few small issues did crop up. Some bikes, mine included, have poor availability of hook points. The bungee cords rubbed the sponsonlike tailpiece on my bike, so I isolated them from doing so with strips of rubber tool-box liner. We’ve seen others use gaffer’s or painting tape and even clear shelf liner. Everyone may not be as emotional about the paint work but protection is important for some of us. The height of the bag also made it a tad difficult to throw a leg over the seat… some adaptation is required, such as poking a boot over the seat. The physical width of the CL-150 may seem a bit overwhelming on smaller bikes and the unit will sit better on larger machines.
For me, safety is a prime consideration when anything is temporarily attached to my bike and bungees are not my favorite method. Understandably, Nelson-Rigg cannot be expected to provide fitment adjustments for every possible variation of machine so bungees do provide an acceptable method for universal attachment. By nature, I’m a “belt and suspenders” person, so I plan on adding adjustable nylon straps/buckles utilizing the spare D-rings provided on each corner. It is simple enough to personalize the fit to my specific bike. Safety is paramount, no?
For minimalist riders, the CL-150, when paired up with a good tankbag, will increase the touring capacity to an adequate level, if a rider prefers to travel light. For touring riders with saddlebags who need additional cargo space for the long-haul, the CL-150 might be an ideal adjunct. It’s way more attractive than a milk crate.